Tense and Person.

I need to preface this post by saying that I’m simply kvetching about a personal pet peeve of mine. Please take it as such. So…on to the post!

Y’all. What is going on? Why are authors writing their novels in the present tense? I’ve seen it in self-published novels, in fanfiction, and in works published by major publishing houses. Even worse is an author writing in the first person as well. Not sure what I mean? I’ll demonstrate.

I drive in the rain. It’s beating down, and I turn on my windshield wipers. They flap and sling the water off the sides. There’s a line in front of my face where a piece of a pine cone is wedged under the rubber wand. I think I need to fix that, but I always forget. I’m upset because my child is crying in the back seat. 

“Please stop crying,” I say. “It’s only rain.” 

She continues to whimper until I turn on her favorite music and she starts to fall asleep. I wonder why I didn’t think of that sooner. 

I made this little bit of prose up off the top of my head and it shows, but my point remains the same regarding writing a story in the first person, present tense: It’s weird. It’s awful. Please stop.

Caveat: I know that I write this blog largely in the present tense. But, I’m not writing a story, I’m having a conversation with you, my darling reader(s). I don’t have a problem with that, obviously. But a story has a different feel than a blog post. And I’ve even read books in first person that I’ve enjoyed. But first person, present tense? Nope. Never.


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